May 28, 2009

Our six month four month check-up

I have so much I should write about:
- my first Mother's Day
- our first "date" without Zane
- our first roadtrip with the little guy
- the crazy violent nightmares I am having

the list goes on....

But I will stop and take a breath and document our four month well-baby visit that happened yesterday:

Zane is squarely in the 90th percentile across the board, coming in at 17.1 pounds and 26 inches.

The doctor said "He is the size of a six month old and has the development of a six month old and he's smiling at me like a six month old! He was born two months late!"

I laughed at that, but it feels pretty on the mark, Zane has always "felt" like an older baby to me. Maybe he's "an old soul", who knows. I just think he's amazing.

We got permission to start rice cereal if we want to, in the doctors words, "It won't hurt him, but he'd be fine without it too." He basically said if I want a break from constant nursing go ahead and introduce it. So - we're thinking about it. I have a box of organic brown rice cereal and baby spoons. I have been feeling for a while he might be ready for something a little more "hearty", but I am going to wait till I feel really good about going forward with it. Mama instincts and all.

We also gave him his first vaccine yesterday. We delayed the start of vaccinations and are following an extremely modified vaccination schedule. And to avoid beginning a huge debate I will just leave it at that for now. If you want to know my reasoning behind our choices I would be happy to share, but suffice to say that I did my research, I talked with our Dr., and then I listened internally for what felt right to me - which was agonizing and is still something I am learning to do. As our Dr. so eloquently stated yesterday, (and I paraphrase) "There is no choice that carries zero risks, what is important is how you feel about the choice you are making and that you are honest with yourself about the risks you are taking and feeling ok taking those risks."

I am finding that so much of parenting lies in this grey area where I must make a choice, without any assurance of making "the one right choice", and then I must embrace that choice and stand in it - honest about who I am as a mother and what I am doing. Talk about a crash course in confidence!

Anyway, Zane did great with his one shot - he cried briefly which broke my heart to pieces, and he seemed a little sore in that leg last night but otherwise completely fine. I, on the otherhand, still feel traumatized a bit by it. I am such a wimp when it comes to him.

On that note....I had better get going, my six month four month old is asking me to play. And who could resist this face?

May 22, 2009

Time Management

I have to admit, I am not great at time management, especially not when it involves routines and schedules. I get bored. I am a life-long procrastinator and tend to manage my life in sprints and lulls rather than predictable, measured, walks and jogs.

But, it seems this too must change.

There is no procrastination with babies. There is only now. NOW. This moment. There is no promise of another moment, in the future, do this thing, to go that place. Nope. Because that moment, that moment is completely unpredictable. Who knows whether that moment is the one that will hold the toxic diaper blow-out, the projectile spit-up, the unanticipated nap, the unanticipated lack of a nap, the baby who needs to be held, or all of the above.

So, I am trying. I am learning to carpe diem and all that. I am also learning to bring more order to my days and weeks through, (gulp), schedules and routines. And honestly, I like it. I am just not great at it.

All it takes is a week of being awakened every two hours and boom! I find myself disheveled, sitting in my three-days-unshowered filth and feeling like I live in a cave - promising myself I will take a shower....tomorrow. In fact, that is how I spent most of last week. Each day wondering if I was the only one to have sunk to this level so repeatedly, wondering what had happened to the energetic mama I seemed to have been a month before.

But this week I promised myself things would be different. I seized the opportunity to shower in the morning before Mr. Spicy left for work, instead of lying in bed counting how few hours of sleep I managed the night before and hoping Zane would fall back to sleep in a few minutes so I could steal another hour or two. Sure, maybe I still crawled back into bed on occasion, napping a precious hour or two with my deliciously snuggly little babe, but at least I had showered that day! And I began mapping the week. Monday: yoga day, Tuesday: errands, Wednesday: walk to the coffee shop and hang out there, and that's as far as I have gotten. I will make Thu or Fri a zoo day (we just became members and I am SO excited), and we'll probably make the other day some sort of activity as well (maybe a music class, or a playdate, or gardening!). I am trying to find a planned reason to leave the house every single day for just a couple of hours. This way I don't slip too far into cave-land, Zane gets out and gets some stimulation, and we still have plenty of time to hang out at home for a long nap, house cleaning, and just general necessary down-time.

Sounds like I have it figured out, huh? If only it were that easy! The hard part for me is going the distance, sticking to the plan week after week. And yet, with no plan - mayhem ensues. So, I am trying this out. I'll try to remember to let you know how it turns out.

What about you moms out there? What had to change for you in terms of time management? Did you have to become more organized? Let go of rigid routines? Did you find a routine or schedule that really worked for you and your child?

And you mommies-to-be....what do you anticipate needing to change for you?

May 21, 2009

The Z Files: Month Four

Dear Zane,

Here we are. Month four. You are one third of the way through your first year. And it bears repeating that it is all still going by way too fast for your mama here.

There were more than a dozen moments this month where I caught myself laughing at myself for my big speech to you in last month's letter about how "it's ok to cry", etc. etc. Sadly, you showed us this month that you are perfectly aware of that fact and you know exactly when and under what circumstances you feel crying should commence. In fact, as I was doing some final editing of last month's letter, you began teething in earnest and I was afraid my happy, laughing little munchkin had all but disappeared.

Thankfully, that was not the case. You have had more than a few fussy nights due to teething and gas and possibly being ready for something a bit more substantial than breast milk (more on this later) - but you still dazzle us daily with your smile and you save a few tears up for those laughs that literally make your eyes water.

You have also cried a few times when confronted by a loud noise, a deep voice, or your own sad face in the mirror (you had just bonked your head on your swing). Your cries are mercifully short, but nonetheless heart wrenching. So I am glad to report that you are seemingly moving back into a more jovial season as your fourth month comes to a close.

New this month: rolling over! Here's the thing though. You mastered the art of rolling over in one day, did it multiple times in a row as we cheered you on, and then? Eh, not so much. You have not rolled over again. You seem to be over rolling and instead moving on to the fine art of the pre-crawl "scootch". Yes, you are already moving arms and legs in a determined fashion, scootching across a blanket on the floor to reach a treasured toy. Leaving your mama and papa in wide mouthed amazement, I should add.

Speaking of toys. You have discovered toys this month. To be fair though, anything within grabbing distance has become a possible "toy". Today you grabbed a pen right out of my hand as I was writing. Your favorite toy is probably your stuffed puppy rattle. You like to nurse on its nose and clasp it tightly to your chest. You also shake it and toss it and I gladly fetch it and return it to you.

You also love your doorway jumper. You stand in it, bounce in it, and walk yourself in circles in it. Today you stood in it and stared in amazement as the dogs laid just out of your reach. But you still tried reaching for them and walked yourself in their direction as far as you could, calling out to them. It was really sweet to watch. I think it might be the first time you really noticed them as other beings you could relate to.

Things no longer in your favor? Bottles, and to a lesser extent, pacifiers. Yep. We let you go too long without a bottle feeding and you have officially decided you are done with them. This has been really distressing for your daddy. He puts you to bed on Wednesday nights while I am out and you have just completely rejected his attempts to bottle-feed you. This results in one very stressed out papa and you going to bed hungry. I even went out and bought you a fancy bottle made to resemble a breast. Nope. There is no fooling you. So, I decided skip the bottle altogether. I dug out a sippy-cup we received as a gift when you were born, filled it with breast milk, and voila! You aren't exactly gulping it down, but you are willing to take several sips from it which seems to satiate your hunger just enough to allow you and Daddy to have a peaceful and enjoyable night together and I am not worrying about you going to bed hungry. You are also just about done with pacifiers as well, which is not as big of an issue but makes me a little sad for some reason. You just seem to be growing up so fast little man!

You are waking up a lot at night lately and it seems to be just hunger that is waking you. You generally wake, eat, and drift back to sleep. Although there have been a couple rare nights when your face lit up in the middle of the night and you decided it was party-time! For the most part, you are just eating a lot, all day, all night. Which, paired with the teething, the rejection of the bottle and acceptance of the sippy cup, the grabbing, the fascination you have with anything we are eating these days, and the fact that you are one big kiddo (18 pounds last time I checked) leads me to thinking it may be time to start you on something more substantial - like FOOD. Yikes! I swore I would wait till 6 months to start you on solids, because I have a pretty significant food sensitivity. But, once again - being your mama means letting go of my own preconceived ideas about how things "should" go. My instincts are telling me to feed you. I think I have to listen to that.

So, next month's letter will probably be all about eating and food, and what you like to eat and what you hate to eat, and what babyfood looks like splattered all over our dining room walls. I sort of can't wait!

Last but not least, we took you on your first official road trip this month!!! Your daddy's birthday and Mother's Day fell on the same weekend, so we packed up and headed down to one of our favorite places on earth: Taos, NM. We stayed at a Bed and Breakfast and you so charmed the owners that they offered us free babysitting if we would just bring you back. It was a bit of a long trip, too long I think - but you handled it like a champ and I think you even slept better there than you do at home! Of course you got to sleep in your favorite spot, between Mama and Papa, all night long, so that may have had something to do with it. I loved introducing you to this special place for us and I can't wait to bring you back when you get a little older. I also really loved getting that time away, just the three of us, a family. There were no chores to be argued over, no "to do lists" to make, just us enjoying being together, resting, reconnecting, finding our own ways. It was magical and it made me want to run away somewhere with you and your daddy. I am already looking forward to our next family trip.

What else can I say? You continue to be an incredible source of joy and wonder in our lives. I am a better person because you are here, I love being your mother and cannot think of anywhere I would rather be than where I am at right now. I love you with more of my heart than I ever knew existed and I just fall more in love each day. Thank you again for making me a mother, your mother. Thank you for being our son. Our sun.

With love as deep as the ocean,

May 08, 2009

Happy 36th Mr. Spicy!

We have come through quite a bit in the last year and our focus has been almost singularly on Zane. So, in honor of Mr. Spicy's 36th birthday I would like to shift the focus to him and list 36 things I love about this man, in no particular order.

1. He continues to rescue stray cats and kittens who become stranded in our backyard, sometimes bringing them food or water, even though this has backfired on him in the past and ended up costing us a small fortune.

2. He can talk to anyone and when he asks people how they are, he really wants to know the answer.

3. He is already an amazing dad. Better than I could have ever hoped for. Zane is one lucky little boy.

4. When we travel to Spanish-speaking countries or just to the corner taqueria, he boldly speaks what Spanish he knows while I am still silently trying to parse together an acceptable and grammatically correct sentence for fear of sounding like an idiot.

5. I brought a cat and a dog into our marriage and he has always loved and cared for them as his own.

6. When we got our youngest dog and he persisted in waking in the middle of the night and whining to be let out for the entire first year, Mr. Spicy got up every night, sometimes more than once, to let him out. And he was kind to him in the process, which is more than I could have done.

7. When Zane was first born and was jaundiced, Mr. Spicy went with him for every blood-draw, comforting Zane and allowing me to sleep.

8. When Zane was under those awful lights at the hospital for his jaundice, Mr. Spicy held him for hours, his arms kinked into the plastic bassinet, supporting his son so he wouldn't feel alone.

9. He got into a heated argument with the Dr. on-call while I was in labor, determined to protect me and to allow my wishes to be heard.

10. He knows what he wants and will persevere until he gets it.

11. He is strong, both in character and physique. (Have you seen his biceps?!)

12. He loves to travel and explore - and he lets me do the research and planning.

13. He LOVES to dance. (He was teaching swing and salsa dancing when we met - yum!)

14. Even though he loves dancing and was in high demand with the ladies back in the day, he chose not to learn the Argentine Tango. He felt it was a dance he specifically wanted to save to dance with his wife some day. He's been hounding me to take Tango lessons with him since we were engaged. (Why haven't I done this yet???)

15. When we are having a hard time or there is tension, he really wants to talk it through. And he will mull over these discussions for days.

16. He calls me "Beautiful" more than he calls me by my name.

17. He shed tears when Zane rolled over for the first time.

18. He loves the ocean and he has shared this passion with me.

19. He dreams big.

20. He is a great swimmer and doesn't mind when I cling to him in fear when we snorkel. (I don't really do this anymore - much)

21. He is a fierce protector of those he cares about.

22. He is driven to excel at all he does.

23. He is crazy smart.

24. He always smells yummy.

25. He takes his current role as sole financial provider for our family really seriously. He works his butt off to make sure we are taken care of.

26. He treats me as an equal in every way.

27. He values what I have to offer our son and tells me all the time what a great mom he thinks I am.

28. He once gave me a book he made of one hundred quotes about love (borrowing from Neruda's 100 Verses of Love) .

29. He is a poet, through and through.

30. He is also an engineer, through and through.

31. He loves fixing things and making things better.

32. He loves to teach and is a phenomenal teacher.

33. He once serenaded me.

34. He lets me sing at the top of my lungs in the car and tells me that he loves it (even though I know I don't sing that well) - and he is the only person I have ever felt safe enough to do that with.

35. In every way he has given me a home.

36. And well....just look at him:

Happy 36th Birthday, Mr. Spicy!

I am still so grateful I am the one who gets to wake up next to you on your special day, and the first to celebrate with you every year.

I love you.

May 06, 2009

This Day...

One year ago today....

I drove to my RE's office. My stomach was filled with butterflies, my heart filled with hope. I listened to Feist on the way there, belting out the songs that had gotten us through our IVF experience thus far.

I waited to be called in the back and waited as the tech drew my blood, commenting on my unusually (for me) prominent veins that day. The tech and the nurses wished me luck, and promised if the news was favorable I would hear them shouting in celebration all the way at my house.

I drove home. I waited to pee on the home pregnancy test, a cheapie dollar store test. I finally gave in and peed, knowing my husband was on his way home. I left the test on the counter and waited for him to get here. I could not be alone when I saw the result. I could not face another negative test again, alone.

My husband came home and walked into the bathroom while I waited in the hallway. He carefully carried the test out to me. There were two lines. This was not another negative. This was different. This was wonderful. This was unbelievable.

And nothing has been the same since.

On that day, I thought that the sight of the digital pregnancy test spelling out "Pregnant" was the most beautiful image I had ever seen. I thought the sound of the nurse reporting our beta (197) was possibly the most incredible sound I had ever heard. I remarked that day, "I have never known a joy quite like this..."

And yet? As earth-shattering and life-changing as that day was? Everything I felt and heard and saw and wrote was all so very small compared to what I get to see and hear and feel today:

He is wonderful. He is unbelievable.

May 05, 2009

And the little one said, "Roll Over! Roll Over!"

Zane rolled over this morning.

Gosh that sounds so mundane. For us it was pretty darn amazing. We practically threw him a party! And Mr. Spicy may have even shed a tear or two.

The thing is, he probably has had this super-power for a little while now. But I am a bad mommy and don't like mandatory tummy time. Well I don't like mandatory anything - but that is a whole 'nother post. So. So I haven't been doing a whole lot of tummy time. His head control is great, he's strong and even starting to use his new doorway jumper, so eh, I just figured tummy time could be optional.

But yesterday we went to BYOB yoga (Bring your own baby) and when I would put him on his tummy he would instantly go into cobra pose and I realized he might be close to rolling over if I would just give him enough tummy-time to try it.

So this morning, I placed him tummy-down on our bed and laid next to him and talked to him. I put his pacifiers on either side, just out of reach. And within minutes he pushed up on his arms and shifted his weight like a pro, flopping right on over onto his back. Much clapping and congratulating ensued. Then, because Dad was working from home in the next room, he came in and witnessed Zane's second and third successful rolls. And because I was so fascinated, I put him back on his stomach a couple more times just to watch him do it again and again....poor guy, by the end he was completely tuckered and ready for a nap!

Now that he can do this for himself, he is no longer dependent on me or anyone else to move him when he finds himself unhappily on his tummy.
That seems like sort of a big deal to me.

It also seems like a big deal that he has just dramatically increased his mobility. Holy cow. I don't know if we're ready for this.

But ready or not? Here he rolls!